Sparano was fired even though he retained the support of his players, who staged a surprising turnaround after their 0-7 start.
"Sad and disappointing news on Coach Sparano's termination," running back Reggie Bush tweeted. "He's a great coach and an even better man! He will be greatly missed."
In Sparano's first season as an NFL head coach, he led the Dolphins to a surprising 11-5 record, the 2008 AFC East title and their only playoff game since 2001. He departs with a record of 29-32.
Shortly before he was fired, Sparano held his regular Monday news conference. When asked if he wanted to comment on reports he would be fired after the season, he said no.
"I want to coach against the Buffalo Bills this week. That's my sole focus," he said.
Sparano's departure represents further dismantling of the regime built by Bill Parcells after he joined the Dolphins in late 2007, as they staggered to the end of a 1-15 season. Ross took over as owner in early 2009, and Parcells turned control of football operations over to Ireland before last season.
As in 2007, the Dolphins have issues at quarterback, in the offensive line and elsewhere. But Ross said the situation is not as bleak now.
"Everybody recognizes there's a great foundation here to build upon," Ross said. "It's not starting all over again. This isn't the way the team was when Parcells came and they had to rebuild the entire roster."
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